MUSIC REVIEW : A Pleasant Afternoon of Chamber Music at Pepperdine

Sunday afternoon at Pepperdine's Raitt recital hall, nothing more earth-shaking occurred than the close-quartered pleasures of chamber music, neatly played and plainly felt. But that's plenty. A small gathering of musicians, linked by common membership in the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, provided lucid essays on lesser-known works from mostly well-known sources.

Flutist Susan Greenberg and violinist Clayton Haslop were the main protagonists with additional input by Victoria Miskolczy and cellist Barbara George. En toto, the group culminated with Mozart's Quartet in D Major, notable for an adagio in which the flute softly implores its melody against an arpeggiated, pizzicato framework in the strings.

From the contemporary corner came Tania Gabrielle French's "Ancient Echoes," which premiered last May, making it the newest work on the program by a margin of roughly 150 years. The quartet is a smartly impressionistic tone poem with good muscle tone, colored by harmonic tension and a sense of style that sits happily somewhere--somehow--between Bartok and the chic chugging action of Minimalism.

Telemann's Sonata No. 4 for violin and flute opened, delivered with exacting Baroque propriety. Viola joined the duo for Beethoven's kind-spirited Serenade, Opus 25, equipped with the bright charm of the opening allegro and the proper gusto of the finale. Ernst von Dohnanyi's Serenade, Opus 10 proved another agreeably romantic opus, meaty and plaintive by turns.

It was a fine, unpretentious afternoon in the chamber.

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